Behind the Scenes: Rosé of Pinot Noir Debut

Imagery is key when launching a new product and we knew the best person to help capture the essence of Layer Cake’s new Rosé of Pinot Noir: food and lifestyle photographer Matt Armendariz.

We flew down and spent two days in his naturally lit, loft-style photo studio in Long Beach, CA. We were graced with his talent, props, equipment and stylists to help us achieve the perfect shot for our upcoming launch. The goal was to make the wine look as good as it tastes. We succeeded.

Few know just how much it takes to get the perfect shot, especially one as important as this for our new product release. For this, we were extremely grateful to have Matt’s expertise. Once we were happy the the final shot, it was time to bring the ad to life.

That’s when we turned to Zentiv creative agency in Santa Rosa, CA to help the ad jump off the page. You can see our beautiful new ad in the latest editions of Wine Spectator, Food & WineWine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Sunset and many more. We believe it captures the essence of the wine, and are excited to share it with you all. Cheers.

Wine and Food Pairings for Your Home Brunch

Brunch has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. Between the upscale food and the tasty cocktails, brunch has everything you need to have a truly relaxing weekend. Many restaurants and wineries have started offering special brunch menus on weekend mornings. But sometimes, you don’t feel like going out. For those days that you want the comfort of your own home, but still want a relaxing brunch with friends, we have some brunch hosting tips for you!

Plan a Theme

Every meal is better with a theme, especially when entertaining! Choose a common element to tie your brunch together. You could choose a region-inspired brunch, serving dishes from places like Italy or New Orleans, and picking décor and music to match.

Or maybe you want a food theme! Try a veggie-only brunch, or pick a main entrée dish and choose sides and drinks to match!

Other themes could include colors, time periods, or even pop culture references. The sky is your limit! Choosing a theme makes it easier for everyone to pitch in while still having a cohesive brunch meal. This way your brunch will be a team effort and no one person will have to do all the work. More fun for everyone!

Think about Prep

If you want your brunch to run smoothly, think about the flow of traffic between food prep and food consumption. Prep as much of your meal as possible before your guests arrive. Put baked goods in the oven as your guests arrive, to be enjoyed after your first drinks.

Create a station for light food and drink prep. If you’re looking for maximum convenience, look at these wine tasting centers that store wine bottles, glasses, and have counter-space for drink prep. With drawers to store your bottle opener and silverware, you can make this your brunch supply station and be ready for brunch any time! Some even have room for seating and double as a table!

Pair Fantastic Food with Wonderful Wine

Now for what you’re really here for: the food! Here are some ideas to get you started planning your brunch meal:

  • Flatbread is a great finger food and easy to pair with other dishes. Try some simple herbs, smoked salmon and prosciutto on grilled flatbread. It’d go great with Layer Cake Chardonnay or a crisp, Sauvignon Blanc to balance out the salt in the smoked salmon.
  • Want your brunch to have fresh, homegrown food? Plan ahead and plant a pesto garden! Then all your brunches can have a lovely pesto for pizza, pasta, flatbread, or bruschetta!
  • Pair a French Toast (or as the French call it, Pain Perdu) with a homemade berry jam and the fruity Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Looking to add some whimsy to your meal? Check out this A-Z guide to edible flowers. There are recipes for rose jam, yucca hash, and more! You can even make your own Dandelion Wine as an after-brunch palate cleanser. Edible flowers are an easy and unique addition to any meal, more information can be found at Sharie’s Berries Guide to Edible Flowers as well.
  • Stock up on your favorite Champagne or sparkling wine and some fresh citrus juices (orange, grapefruit, tangerine, etc.) for a low-maintenance mimosa bar!
  • Want to give your guests an option with a little zing? Try these Buttermilk and Sharp Cheddar Biscuits with Brown Sugar Cured Ham & Pepper Jelly.

These are just a few fun ideas for your next wine-centric brunch with close friends and family. What’s your favorite brunch pairing? Share in the comments!

Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Jeriann Watkins

Italian Inspiration

We don’t go to Rome for the past (the only thing you’re going to hear from us regarding ancient Roman ruins is that they are excellent at providing shade for drinking wine). We go to Rome to get charged for the future. To get psyched to make more wine.

The only ancient tradition we adhere to is that of celebration. And we do this by imbibing the modern energy of a city that’s uniquely “Roman.” Yes, this seems absurdly obvious, but traveling to Italy as often as we do, we have come to realize that Rome is a place unlike any other.

Modern-day Romans do not live in the past. They understand as well as anyone that the past informs the present. And without all the bacchanalia and conquests, they retain the regal, proud air of their ancestors, along with many of the distinct physical characteristics.

Yes, while we do enjoy our late Roman evenings around a bottle or two, we make wine in Puglia, the picturesque heel of Italy’s geographic boot. We spend our days grounded in the art of Italian winemaking, but there’s no place like Rome for partaking in the spirit of reinvention and rejuvenation. Where else can you literally watch new civilization being built atop old? Walk streets that emperors strode?

It’s simply impossible not to be inspired to attempt great things while sitting at one of the cafes bordering the 2000-year old Pantheon, which to this day is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Or by traversing the fabled Spanish Steps. Or while taking in some of the world’s most fantastic art. Or by enjoying a simple plate of fresh, handmade seafood pasta.

One of our favorite non-winemaking activities is to stroll through the narrow back streets to discover tiny plazas where tourists rarely venture. We’ve stumbled into some of our favorite eating establishments this way. We eat pizza at 2:30 am. We drink wine with our feet in the Trevi Fountain at 3:00 am. We try to get the garishly garbed Swiss Guard at the Vatican to smile and let us see into the secret Papal library vaults.

So, as we travel the world making wine to share with you, we celebrate. We remind ourselves that work without play is boring (and makes for even more boring wine). We also hope to inspire you to to get up, get out and see the world. And, if you can’t get out and see it, at least taste it (like with a bottle of Layer Cake Primitivo). We promise to keep brining the world (as we see it) to you and your glass.

Other stories and recipes from our journeys can be found in the One True Vine Journal 001. You can purchase a copy here:

Drink Different: Sea of Stones Sangria

It’s hot outside. Real hot. And, as much as you want to, you wouldn’t dare drop a handful of ice into your wine. So, what do you do? You make a giant pitcher of cool, refreshing sangria, fire up the grill and call some friends.

Take advantage of all that great summer fruit at the store (or “borrowed” from your neighbors’ tree), slice it up and toss it in a pitcher with Layer Cake Sea of Stones. For that matter, you can make it with any Layer Cake red wine! Or even better yet, make a few different pitchers and have a sangria tasting.

You’ll just need a few things and very little time to make a summer sipper you’ll find hard to put down.

Layer Cake Sea of Stones Sangria

2 bottles Layer Cake Sea of Stones
5 each Valencia oranges
1 each Pink grapefruit
2 each Lemons
2 each Pink lady apples, cored
3 cups Lemon-lime soda
1 cup Triple Sec or orange-flavored liqueur

Leaving the skins on, slice all citrus into thin rings place in jug. Slice apples into thin wedges and place in jug. Add Sea of Stones red wine, lemon-lime soda and orange-flavored liqueur on top of sliced fruit in the jug and let rest in the refrigerator for one to three hours.

Grab a glass, fill it with ice, pour in the Sangria, then sit back and enjoy!

Makes 2 gallons (20-30 8oz glasses)

Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Food and Wine Minded Dad

After a little online brainstorming, one might assume that we’re all still shopping for the same 1960’s sitcom dad. Golf-themed tchotchke? Novelty cufflinks? Who is that guy, exactly? Times (and parenting) have changed, but conventions in Father’s Day gift-giving are really pretty stubborn. Once we move past the macaroni necklace and Crayola phase of life, it can feel challenging to convey affection or admiration with a store-bought Father’s Day present.


Conveniently, though, the holiday falls at the start of summer, so at least for those of us lucky to have food-and-wine-minded fathers in our lives, grill master gear and outdoor cooking gizmos can be found in every retail outlet and every corner of the Internet. Hit all the right Father’s Day notes (without being too on the nose) and get Dad something he’ll love with these easy-to-find picks:


GoVino: These recyclable “glasses” perform like fine crystal, but they’re shatterproof and BPA-free (and some styles are now even dishwasher-safe). Dad can take his Shiraz from picnic to patio to poolside without worrying about breakage, and they’re an attractive alternative to clunky acrylic glassware.


OXO: The workhorse brand for smartly-designed cooking gadgets and kitchen equipment tools, with hundreds of ergonomic options.  Stainless barware gives off a modern Bond vibe; OXO’s steel wine sleeve helps keep Rosé chilled and Primitivo at its proper temp, no matter how sweltering the weather outside.


Picnic at Ascot: Take Dad’s wine country rambles or summer concert series to the next level with an insulated, collapsible picnic basket or tote. Downton Abbey enthusiasts might like Ascot’s trad wicker-and-flatware options, but the polycanvas styles are way less granny (and without included dishes and glasses, there’s more room for charcuterie and cheese). Kit one out with a small cutting board, corkscrew and a favorite bottle.


ThermoPop Digital Thermometer: Priced right and available in nine snappy colors, this probe-style thermometer gives a quick, accurate reading and tops tons of “best of” lists. And yes, the grilling thermometer might be an obvious choice for Father’s Day, but it’s a must-have tool for any batterie de cuisine. And who knows? Dad might just flip you some burgers.


And, if you’re one of those last-minute gift buyers, a great bottle of wine (like Layer Cake) is always a good choice. It can turn into an even better gift if you open it together and reminisce about all the ways he’s been the “World’s Best Dad” to you.